Once, during the dark years, he dreamed a tragedy, involving children and fire and the way he hoped eventually to die. His body was consumed by the fire, in his dream, but his spirit remained, and it hovered inert over the world, watching over the ones he loved. He awoke, and discovered that the part he most remembered about the dream was how helpless he had felt, disembodied and powerless to help or comfort anyone. Embodied, he was no good to anyone, not even to himself, but incorporeality was not, it seemed, the answer. He had carried the burden of existence which weighed on him so heavily, with him into non-existence.
A cruel message from an inclement God, to be sure. You were born wrong, little one, and you know it. And, you will die wrong, and you will be wrong after you die. And now you know it. And, I made you this way, and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it.
A few years later he leapt off a bridge into dark waters and called it following Christ. The slow-moving poison in his veins was the path to sainthood, from which he would continually stray. Always in the hope of outsmarting God, he would try some new way to escape himself: how better, he thought, than to escape from God with God?
His dogged failure to cut his losses; he never even tried to get comfortable in his own skin.
* * *
The metaphor which most exactly captures his experience in the darkened room is that of the tuning fork. Somehow, these brilliant people had written and sung something that left him vibrating and electric. He wished to capture this feeling and bottle it up, to always know that there were others who knew the same ... something, and who could radiate it so much more beautifully than he ever hoped to do.
Leaving, he wanted to scream in that same key, or something like it, to send out the signal. Here was another one, using alienation to excuse himself from a nonexistent table. Too afraid, too smart, too defeated seeks same for obscure, stilted conversation and occasional literature. Just tell me you're out there.
He decided that there weren't enough lifetimes for all the things he would like to do. He decided that he wanted to carry the same pitch with him and see who else would pick it up. He knew that he had thought things like this before and had never accomplished them. It occurred to him that he might have to find out just what kind of a thing he was before he could find others of his kind. After years of trying, the real message finally cuts through the despair and the helpless anger. I made you this way because I thought you were strong enough to handle it.
* * *
Everything I have written culminates in the next thing I will write. A meticulously kept record of the strew of failures in my wake; piling inconsequentials higher and higher in the hope of accumulating consequence. Panel, diptych, triptych, tetrych — I keep adding them up, convinced that I am about to amount to something.
If I am remembered at all, it will be for having started to say an awful lot of things.